A former rock & roll drummer, Garrett T. Capps kickstarted a solo career as a left-field country singer while living in the Texas Hill Country. His songs approach the country tradition from unexpected directions, making room for Hawaiian lap steel, modular synthesizer and arty arrangements along the way. Capps calls it “NASA country.” Spacey and soundscape-influenced, his music takes center stage on the newest installment of Walking the Floor, where host Chris Shiflett champions his Capps’ sound as “spooky cosmic country” that “makes you wanna break furniture.”
Below, we break down the highlights of his conversation with Shiflett, followed by our biweekly premiere of the podcast’s new episode in full. Be sure to listen until the very end, where Capps offers an acoustic performance of an unreleased song, “Goin’ Far.”
Although raised in San Antonio, he remained disinterested in the city’s rich tradition of country music as a teenager.
“I grew up listening to rock & roll,” Capps explains, rattling off a list of teenage favorites like the Who, Queens of the Stone Age, the Rolling Stones and Shiflett’s own Foo Fighters. “The melody — everything but the lyrics, really — was a big thing for me growing up. I never cared about the lyrics or anything; I just sang along to the song.”
Later, while living in San Marcos, Capps rediscovered country music.
“I didn’t record an album until 2012 or ’13,” he tells Shiflett. “I didn’t start doing my solo stuff until then. I got really into the music and I started going to shows, thinking that was something I’d be able to do. So I started trying to do it.”
It was “Born in San Antone,” a swaggering salute to Capps’ hometown, that put the songwriter on the map.
Released in 2016 on Capps’ country-punk debut, Y Los Lonely Hipsters, “Born in San Antone” remained a local anthem until it was discovered by TV producer Brian Koppelman, who placed the song in an episode of the Showtime program Billions. “He emailed the email on my webpage, and it bounced back,” says Capps with a laugh. “No one had tried to email that specific email! He messaged me on all my social media outlets, just freaking out over the song. When I talked to him on the phone, he said, ‘I’m definitely using the song on my show.’ Seven months later, I finally got the contract for this show.” It was the sync placement on Billions that helped broadcast Capps’ music to an international audience.
Even so, Capps pursues a different direction with his newest release, In the Shadows (Again).
Influenced by experimental music, spacey soundscapes and the minimalist compositions of Teddy Riley, Capps’ sophomore album builds a bridge between the country tradition and the art world. “Progression and pushing the music into a different territory … is really important to me,” says the songwriter, who collaborated heavily with a modular synthesizer player named Justin Boyd throughout the process. “On this last record,” he adds, “[we were] bringing the modular synthesizer dude in, and really trying to push it ‘out there,’ but at the same time, keep it accessible.”